The Under Appreciated Combo Guards: Barbosa and Bayless

Combo gaurd.

Its a word that gets thrown around alot and has a somewhat negative connotation surrounding it. We’re talking about your 6’3 and under shooting gaurd who doesn’t quite have the size to matchup on the NBA level but has enough ball handling and passing skills to maybe play alittle point gaurd. GMs squirms at the thought of drafting them, coaches wonder how to use them and the media love to critize them.  So who needs these guys?

The Raps are fortunate enough to possess two of such players.
To many people, Barbosa and Bayless are simiply decent scorers that can be used as tradebait. To me, they are the best players on the team. Ok thats not saying much on a team with a 15 and 40 record, but considering how underused they are, its a bit of a bold statement.

Barbosa can flat out fly. We all know that. More importantly, he’s a great decision maker and he’s the guy you want with the ball at the bottom of shot clocks and at the end of games (yes I’m fed up with Bargnani taking the game winning shot and either not getting it off or barely touching iron….). People will argue he doesn’t pass enough, while true, his shots and drives are rarely bad ones thanks to his speed that is second to none. He’s also no Corey Maggette black hole and years of playing alongside Nash have improved his vision.

Bayless on the other hand is still a bit of a unknown commodity. Traded to New Orleans this past offseason, I assume N.O wanted him to be their 6th man scoring punch in the JR Smith mold. For whatever reason it didn’t work out and now Toronto is blessed with his presence. His passing has gotten significantly better from his rookie season at Portland. His drives and finishes at the rim are highlight reel worthy on many a nights, and he has a solid shot with 3 point range. He truly has become a capable point gaurd if a coach wants to use him that way. His 14.5pts 7.5ast 46fg% as a starter may be an eye opener to some.

Not alot of teams have two guys who can create their own shot, shoot a good %, make smart plays and get shots for others. Combo gaurds rarely work out quite as well as Iverson, but what Toronto has is worthy in it’s own right.
I say run with Bayless at PG, Barbosa at SG. Dump Calderon and his awful defense somewhere, have Derozen at SF and Weems off the bench replacing Barbosa or DD if a matchup problem exists on defense.

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